In an interview earlier this year with The Distributist Review, John Sharpe (head of IHS Press and publisher of Neo-Conned) attempted to deflect criticism of his ties to extremist groups. But he inadvertantly acknowledged that people are taking notice and distancing themselves from his ideologically-laden "Catholicism." He begins by complaining that
...these “attacks” – as distinguished from the reasonable questions from people of good will, all of which I have answered in all cases – are a distraction.
Apparently the truth is distracting. Unfortunately, Sharpe is never candid in public (though he says much more when speaking privately). Still, amid his verbal wriggling he leaks enough details to confirm the main charges – that IHS Press has been tied to political extremists since the beginning. Speaking of his entrance into politics, Sharpe says
I was in Italy, stationed there in the late 90s... when I met an Irishman, who is now a good friend and partner in IHS Press, at the traditional Mass in Naples. Deric and I began a correspondence and friendship....
The "Deric" referred to is Derek Holland, a veteran British neo-fascist with ties to militant Arab and Muslim regimes who was active in the racist National Front as early as the 1970s. He is listed on IHS publications as Deric O'Huallachain (the Gaelic version of his name on his Irish passport). Mr. Holland is also one of IHS Press' corporate directors.
Sharpe admits to getting chummy with Holland/O'Huallachain in the 1990s when the latter was the acknowledged intellectual leader of radical nationalism (and co-founder of the International Third Position – ITP). This says a lot about his own philosophical formation. As it turns out, Holland was actively speaking at racist conferences in 2002, a year after IHS was set up. But that's not surprising, since IHS Press was an offshoot of Sharpe's own Legion of St. Louis, which was the American side of the ITP's St. George Educational Trust (SGET), a neo-fascist front group.
When asked about the ITP, Sharpe gives the predictable double-talk:
I have little to say about any "charges" in this area because IHS Press and the ITP have nothing to do with one another [in the way that Moscow had nothing to do with Alger Hiss - ed.], despite what our critics might say. But I will offer some general observations.
My co-founder, Deric, was involved with the ITP some years ago. Many people make an issue out of this [a curious admission - ed.]. I do not: firstly because IHS does not have to endorse Deric's entire life or all his actions... it has nothing to do with any of that, and only to do with doctrine [presumably Marxism and Nazism are just "doctrines," and we should ignore what their followers do - ed.]. Secondly, from a doctrinal standpoint there is nothing I'm aware of that Deric believed or did while he was associated with the ITP which was not acceptable in light of the Faith, at the very least according to his point of view at the time, if not in plainly objective terms.
Is the ITP bad and, if not, why do you mind being tied to it? And how could Mr. Holland's views be bad now but acceptable in the past? Or is that meant to imply that they were never really objectionable? As for Deric/Derek Holland, he has never repudiated views that he publicly advocated for thirty years, and apparently still advocates (albeit more subtly) via Sharpe's IHS Press.
From my memory the ITP never advocated violence or armed opposition to anything. If I’m wrong on that, then so be it – again I’m neither a partisan nor a “member” (if such things even exist), nor is IHS Press in any way whatsoever connected with whatever the ITP was or currently is – but we ought to operate in the realm of fact and not fiction.
Mr. Sharpe operates in the realm of surrealism. He should quit while he's behind. As for advocating violence, the ITP was tied to political violence in Italy and was a staunch advocate of anti-Israeli violence. Third Positionists like Derek Holland supported Ayatollah Khomeni's Iran and Gaddafi's Libya in the 1980s, and Iraq during the First Gulf War – all promoters of international terrorism. So John's memory is as faulty as it is non-committal. Yet he continues to lament:
I don't know what's wrong with these groups. To my knowledge all the St. George Trust ever did was reprint some books.... [tofu cookbooks? children's coloring books? -ed.] To my recollection, there has always been a traditional priest as a trustee and a number of other priests who have been involved in one way or another with the St. George Trust. None of them had any misconceptions about the political activities and beliefs of those in the Trust. Deric, as far as I know, was never a trustee or any other kind of official person with the group. I am aware that the St. George Trust and the Legion are said to be or have been in some way "front" groups for ITP, which, as I said, may or may not even exist at this point: I just don't know.
The Legion collaborates with St. George Educational Trust (SGET) in the sale of racist works like Henry Ford's International Jew, A. K. Chesterton's New Unhappy Lords, and Michael Hoffman's Judaism's Strange Gods. In closing, Mr. Sharpe is the sort of suspect who gives himself away by his insistent denials.